Algeria plans investment fund for local projects

ALGIERS, Dec 17 (Reuters) - OPEC member Algeria will set up an investment fund next month geared at financing domestic economic projects, Finance Minister Karim Djoudi said in remarks published on Wednesday.

"It is an investment company which takes the form of an investment fund," government-run newspaper El Moudjahid quoted him as saying. Djoudi said the investment fund would be supplied mainly by the state treasury.

"This new financial institution will be funded mainly by resources made available by the Treasury or borrowed on the domestic capital market," he said.

The fund will invest within Algeria, taking shares in existing public companies and those to be created and helping financing specific projects, Djoudi added.

Algeria has avoided setting up a sovereign wealth fund to invest abroad or to make its currency the dinar convertible. Government officials say those decisions helped the country resist the global economic crisis.

Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said on Sunday Algeria was shielded from the crisis and the government would press ahead with national development plans despite a slump in oil prices.

Algeria, whose oil and gas sales abroad account for about 96 percent of total exports, saw foreign exchange reserves rise to $138 billion at the end of November from $137 billion in July.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer) ($= 70 dinars) Keywords: ALGERIA INVESTMENT

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